With families soon to be cooped up together behind closed doors, several educators around Whanganui have ideas for creative projects to engage kids of all ages and keep them entertained throughout the day.

Whanganui Intermediate art teacher Michaella Luxton said that "under the right circumstances" children would look back at the next four weeks of isolation "with fond memories".

"Families can use this time together for bonding and creativity," Luxton said.

"One important thing to note is you don't have to have brand new, fancy stuff to creative masterpieces.

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"Turning plastic bottles into plant holders is a great example of reusing household waste, which there will probably be a lot more of in the next four weeks."

Luxton said parents should be involved as much as they can with their children's activities.

"Kids will be much more engaged if parents do the projects too, and they'll be more willing to go back to these projects by themselves.

Four-year-old Manu Lebo, son of Dani Lebo, with some freshly forged blackberries Photo / Supplied
Four-year-old Manu Lebo, son of Dani Lebo, with some freshly forged blackberries Photo / Supplied

"As basic as it sounds, simple drawing is always fun.

"Designing your very own comic book is a great way to combine art and literacy.

"This is a great thing for families to do, and kids can watch their parents trying to draw stuff too, so it can be a real bonding exercise."

Luxton said challenging children to create something out of nothing was her "go-to" activity.

"My favourite project is to give children a random bunch of recyclable goods and set them a time limit and a challenge, like building the tallest tower, or making something that most resembles a fish.

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"You can dismantle them at the end and set a new challenge to get started on.

Michaella Luxton, art teacher at Whanganui Intermediate School. Photo / Supplied
Michaella Luxton, art teacher at Whanganui Intermediate School. Photo / Supplied

"This could be a very stressful time for kids, or it could be something they look back on fondly.

"Even something like making clothes out of old newspapers and having a fashion show, there are so many things families can do."

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

Early childhood educator Sophie Oliver said "getting messy with your kids" was something parents "should embrace" over the next four weeks.

"Making things that I call 'gloop' and 'slime' are always great for kids," Oliver said.

"Mixing water and cornflour will make 'gloop', and all you need to do to make 'slime' is to use a ratio of one cup of Lux flakes to four cups of boiling water and let it sit overnight.

"Lux flakes are soap, essentially, so it's a great way of keeping children's hands clean as well."

Using chalk on driveways, outside walls and concrete also kept younger children "engaged with learning", Oliver said.

"Spray bottles filled with water and food colouring is another instant art project.

"Keeping kids excited and engaged is so important, and chucking them in a corner with a colouring book for four weeks probably won't do that.

"Think outside the box and prepare to get messy."

A recent art project from Whanganui Intermediate School. Photo / Supplied
A recent art project from Whanganui Intermediate School. Photo / Supplied

Dani Lebo, forest educator at Whanganui Intermediate, said parents should find things that "they themselves are passionate in", and "actively engage" their children in the same ideas and activities.

"If you're worried about the supermarket running out of bread, for example, learn to bake bread together, or learn to grow vegetables from seed," Lebo said.

"This is a great time to plant brassicas, so things like cauliflower, kale, and broccoli are ready to go in the garden right now.

"We're lucky in Whanganui that things can grow all year round."

Lebo said working on a solution together with children was a far more constructive exercise than merely telling them to do something.

"Explore things together, learn a new skill together.

"Resiliency and sustainability are interconnected, and a really good way to alleviate stress in a time like that is to control small aspects of our day-to-day lives.

"What can we go without? What's a sustainable alternative to something we might need? These are questions we can ask our children.

"Go outside into your garden throughout the day, go foraging, study native plants, there's so much stuff out there."

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